Education, State and Society in South Asia

Education, State and Society in South Asia


Convenor: Dr Uma Pradhan

education state and society image

How do we understand the ideas of education and an ‘educated’ person in South Asia? Through a focus on India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal, this course will enable students to critically consider the myriad ways in which education intersects with social and political ideas, institutions, and identities. In each weekly sessions, we will critically examine distinct themes related to education and how they may help us understand the interconnections between education, state and society. We will explore the competing ideologies, notions of morality, and self-making projects that shape South Asian education practices, educations thoughts, and educational institutions.

The main aim of the course is to (re-)examine education transformations in the context of larger social and political change, or the lack of it, in the region. By critically examining the ideas and practices of education, firstly, it encourages students to explore diverse meanings of education and educational trajectories in South Asia. And secondly, to appreciate the broader social and political context of state and society in South Asia. The course will also provoke students to think about South Asia as a unique site for theorizing the social and political dynamics of education in the contemporary world.


Take a look at…

  • Levinson, B.A.,  D.E. Foley, and D.C. Holland (eds) 1996. The Cultural Construction of the Educated Person: Critical Ethnographies of Schooling Practice. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Laura Ahearn. 2001. Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love letter and Social change in Nepal. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Patricia Jeffery, R Jeffery, and C Jeffrey. 2014. 'Islamization, Gentrification and Domestication: ‘A Girls’ Islamic Course' and Rural Muslims in Western Uttar Pradesh'. Modern Asian Studies. 38 (1): 1-53
  • Veronique Benei. 2008. Schooling Passions: Nation, History, and Language in Contemporary Western India. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
  • Bradley A U Levinson et al. (ed). 2000. Schooling the Symbolic Animal: Social and Cultural Dimensions of Education. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefeld Publishers.